Although Sherlock Holmes novels are known to be detective novels, reading The Hound of the Baskervilles through a gothic lens allows us to see that there are, in fact, many gothic elements. The first mention of any type of gothic theme is when Dr. Mortimer shows Holmes the letter he has in his possession: “…standing over Hugo, and plucking at his throat, there stood a foul thing, a great, black beast, shaped like a hound yet larger than any hound that ever mortal eye had rested upon… One, it is said, died that very night of what he had seen…” (Conan Doyle, 15). If one was not reading this through a gothic lens, the common tropes may not be as easily recognized. The hound may be written off as just a device used in the detective novel. But by looking through a gothic lens, immediately, the supernatural trope commonly used in gothic literature is apparent. This hound cannot, reasonably, exist. Clearly the hound is part of the supernatural. Additionally, one of the witnesses to the hound drops dead upon witnessing it. This plays into the uncanny trope, as it seems very strange that one would just drop dead from being scared, and is definitely unusual.
The trope of power is also abundantly clear throughout the novel. Watson constantly refers to Holmes as some type of supreme being, and even the other characters in the book are aware of Holmes’ power: “‘Have you any better explanation?’… Has Mr. Sherlock Holmes?’” (Conan Doyle, 66). Here Holmes’s opinion is regarded so highly, that Stapleton reveals that he knows Watson’s true purpose, just to hopefully hear what Holmes has to say. This dynamic of power may have gone unnoticed by reading this novel through a crime lens, but when viewed as having gothic elements the prominent power relationships cannot be ignored. Therefore, even though Sherlock Holmes is not typically regarded as gothic, it is clear that there are gothic elements to the text.